One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

Up to 40% off

  Founder: Len Mullenger

 

CD REVIEW

 

Some items
to consider


Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free


we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


TROUBADISC

with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

 


alternatively AmazonUK

Charles IVES (1874-1954)
String Quartet No.1: From the Salvation Army (1896) [21:46]
Scherzo (ca.1907-14) [1:42]
String Quartet No.2 (1911-13) [26:59]
Blair String Quartet
rec. Ingram Hall, Blair School of Music, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 5, 6, 8 March 2004.
NAXOS 8.559178 [50:19]



This is an accomplished pairing of the Ives quartets, which also gives us the brief sliver of a Scherzo, all 1:42 of it and written in Ives’s challenging idiom. The Blair Quartet knows better than to garnish the early student work with timbral and syntactical complexities it doesn’t possess. Though a work that would clearly have displeased Ives’s teacher Horatio Parker it does valuable service for the lay listener in revealing Ives’s development in his very early twenties.

His command of harmonious balance is evident here and the subtle employment of his trademark hymn tunes – or perhaps deployment is a more apposite word – is to me at least thoroughly convincing. Of course one can advance the idea that Ives was not yet fully Ives but I suspect listeners coming to this music with a blank sheet will find much here to enjoy. The infiltrated and transformed hymnal tunes certainly reinforce the quartet’s original title From the Salvation Army. But the scherzo shows some Mendelssohnian fleetness of finger. Maybe a parallel with early Bridge is not entirely misplaced though the two composers are in other respects very different. But what is unmistakeable is the indebtedness of the young Ives to Dvořák, whose freshness and immediacy must have proved so attractive – and whose folkloric elements must have strongly appealed to Ives and his own use of demotic. The use of the hymnal material is accompanied by a lightly cyclical plan.

The Second Quartet is Ives in his early maturity, written between 1911 and 1913. The perplexing and sudden conjunctions, conflations, revelations, quotations and miasmic cuts are all firmly evident. But the somewhat tersely romanticised opening doesn’t quite prepare one for the fulminous writing to come – unceasingly powerful chromaticism. Here the quotations abound in tense, often hallucinatory rapidity – the hymnal, quotations from other composers (principally Beethoven and Brahms) as well as brief allusions to Marching through Georgia and the like. The means at his disposal are powerful – tremolandi and intense unisons included - and they culminate in the superb final movement which ends with a three-against-one finale in which the gaunt, relentless cello ostinato repeatedly challenges his companions.

The recording is a touch distant; the hall used doesn’t sound to have been especially warm though this is a relatively minor matter. The playing is involved and involving and conveys Ives’s journey from late Romanticism to modernism with conviction.

Jonathan Woolf

see also reviews by Kirk McElhearn and Dominy Clements

Naxos American Classics page

 


 

We are currently offering in excess of 51,800 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Return to Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.